This week held in it Back to the Future Day. The day in which Marty McFly travels to the year 2015. A day where we were supposed to achieve hover boards and flying cars. As a kid I absolutely loved that movie and watched it many many times. What self respecting 80's kid didn't? Yet in all those viewings, it never occurred to me that I would actually still be alive in 2015. So what did the world think when we did in fact achieve that famous date of October 21, 2015? A large disappointed sigh.
Everywhere I looked was another post, another video and another rant on how disappointing 2015 actually is. Each sketch that included Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd spoofing their characters was a sketch of disappointment in what they found. It seems the overall consensus from the world is that 2015 is not awesome, it sucks. What I find interesting is that the whole of that basis is our lack of true hover boards, (I saw "true" because we actually do have hover boards, just not the ones from the movie) and flying cars. Two things that did not come to pass has apparently ruined this entire year and the future forever. The entirety of what we have achieved to this point, (30 years) is completely dismissed as worthless because of our lack of floating transportation. Apparently MagLev doesn't count.
The fact is, there have actually been some amazing breakthroughs in technology. Things that no one could have predicted. Smartphones alone have changed the entire social structure of our culture. How we work, how we communicate, how we get places. Watch any movie about the future pre-1995 and even if they have a FaceTime/Skype type communication, none of them thought of it as portable. Take a couple hours and watch a few Ted Talks. We have people cleaning the ocean, printing food, growing organic buildings, cars that drive and park themselves. There is a guy with full working plans and a realistic timetable on building the first Starship Enterprise! We are currently creating the technology to travel from Austin to Albuquerque in 3 hours. Tesla cars. That is all. Seriously have you driven one of those?!?! We can even control robotics with our minds!
I could go on and on because the innovations that are happening right now, in 2015, are mind blowing and practically limitless. Yet how easily we as humans toss all that away because of the lack of one or two things. We throw a collective Millenial tantrum because we didn't get what we wanted. (Gen Xers you really should have known better.) Part of our human nature seems to focus only on the thing you wanted that didn't happen, rather then all the amazing things that are actually happening.
What does all this have to do with Art?
Everything! I this as an artist all the time, and I know many artists that do it as well. Each time I come to a piece I struggle with, something I can't seem to get right or just isn't working, I spiral. I tell myself I suck, I knew I was a fraud all a long. Can I even draw? Could I ever? Give up, give up, give up. Your were just a poser after all. It doesn't seem to matter how many successes I have had, what has been published or what awards have been won. In that moment, that one struggle defines the rest of my talent. It is in these moments that I need to do better then that. I need to step back and see what is actually happening. Because the truth is, that those struggles are most often the very thing that make me better the next time.
It is the things that aren't working that drive me to be better. To create all the other good that my eyes are closed to. The challenge I am giving to myself after this epiphany is to embrace the things I don't have. To appreciate that struggle. To step back and see all the "other" it created. To look at the whole picture and focus on the good that was there all a long. I think Marty McFly would actually be pretty impressed with what we have done so far.